Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
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SLIDELL- Northshore anglers felt sucker-punched seeing this damage by Hurricane Isaac only three months after the St. Tammany Fishing Pier had opened for them.

But almost a year and a half after the storm, fishermen and the fishing business are glad to see the pier come back to life.

'We're excited about the pier opening up again. It's good for business, it's good for the community and people have been asking about it,' said Gina Meyers with Gus' Tackle and Nets in Slidell.

St. Tammany Parish spokesman Ronnie Simpson said, 'We've completed a ton of work to rehab the fishing pier, we have replaced the enormous amount of damage that occurred during Hurricane Isaac.'

That work totaled almost $400,000, which FEMA and BP recovery money covered. The parish put some special thoughts into the project including incorporating the old with the new; the old being parts of the pier that survived Isaac.

'We have handicap accessible spots in the pier where the railing is lower, there's a fish cleaning station,' said Simpson, 'There's a lot of lighting being added and redone so during the summer hours the lighting that will shine on the water.'

And what you see now isn't the end of the project. Phase two will open this connection to one of the old twin span bridges, expanding fishing further into the lake. Phase three will then connect the two spans, giving anglers access to a new reef created with broken bridge pieces from Katrina.

The pier is something the public says is needed.

Meyers said, 'There's not a lot of places that you can fish from a bank so this gives them an opportunity for a lot of people who aren't able to fish to go out and fish'

And it's something they'll have once again starting tomorrow.

Saturday's ribbon cutting is at 10 a.m. at 54001 East Howze Beach Road in Slidell with free fishing to follow. The pier's hours will be 6 a.m.-5 p.m. daily with extended hours during the summer. Use of the pier will cost $3, but it's free for kids 12 and under.

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